We are excited to officially announce that our efforts to provide support to breastfeeding employees have earned Brainy Kids Place designation by the Texas Department of State Health Services as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite.
What that means is that we have made a commitment to provide support to our employees who breastfeed their infants. This support comes in the form of a written worksite lactation support policy that provides time and a private location, other than a bathroom, for a mother to pump breastmilk, access to a sink and clean water for washing hands and rinsing any equipment, and a hygienic, safe place to store the breastmilk. Of course, many of our employee have their infant on site and are able to nurse their baby directly!
For us, the decision was easy. Many of us at Brainy Kids Place are working parents, so we know how hard that first year with an infant can be. The erratic sleep schedules, late-night feedings, and constant worries about the baby’s health can take their toll. We also know breastfeeding an infant through the baby’s first year is one of the best things you can do for the long-term health of the child as well as that of the mother. Breastmilk promotes sensory and cognitive development and protects the infant against infectious and chronic diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses.
Many mothers have to choose between working and breastfeeding their child. We didn’t want our employees to have to make that choice. We wanted to make it easy for them to do both, so we took the steps needed to become a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite. We may not be able to offer the yoga classes or in-house laundry services that some companies do, but we can make a commitment to our employees and to the issues that are important to them and their families.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, employers who provide breastfeeding-support programs benefit from lower employee absenteeism due to a sick child, lower employee turnover rates, lower-cost health insurance with fewer claims, higher employee morale and productivity, and an enhanced community image.
While public health officials recommend women breastfeed their infants through a baby’s first year of life and provide nothing other than breastmilk for the first six months, most working mothers must stop breastfeeding soon after they return to their jobs because they do not have sufficient worksite support, including time or an adequate place to pump and store their milk. When mothers are separated from their babies for more than a few hours, they must pump in order to continue to produce milk and maintain their milk supply.
Our employees give us their time, their hard work, and their dedication. Our worksite lactation support program is a way for us to give back to them by helping our working moms continue to breastfeed after they return to work.
We want all of our employees to come to work without having to worry whether they are doing everything they can to take care of their families. We all want our families to be happy and healthy. I may not be able to guarantee my employees’ happiness, but I can help them and their families lead healthier lives by helping our new parents meet their breastfeeding goals.
I am pleased that our efforts have earned us the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite designation. It’s a badge we will wear with honor because we know that ultimately it represents the commitment we have made to our employees and to their families.
We found that getting the designation was a natural fit since we already know and believe in the benefits of breastmilk for infants. The process wasn’t difficult, but was more focused on making a commitment to supporting mothers in the workplace. I would encourage other businesses in our community to pursue the designation.
If you are a working mother, then take a moment to learn about what resources are available to you, particularly if you breastfeed or plan to breastfeed. Talk to your employers and ask for their support. The Texas Department of Health Services has resources that can help you. You can learn more at: http://texasmotherfriendly.org/ and at https://www.breastmilkcounts.com/.